Arsenical Candy and Copper Peas: Food Adulteration in 19th-Century Michigan

In 1896, Michigan consumers spent an estimated $23,000,000 ($690,000,000 today) on impure food products. Vinegars, spices, jam, cheese, coffee, and condiments were among the items tainted with additives ranging from benign to deadly. Local history writer Laura Bien gives an illustrated talk on the state’s history of food fraud and the efforts to quash it. This event is in partnership with the Culinary Historians of Ann Arbor (CHAA), an organization of scholars, cooks, food writers, nutritionists, collectors, students, and others interested in the study of culinary history and gastronomy.